When you find yourself comparing travel destinations to loved ones in your life, perhaps the time has finally come to hang up your proverbial passport.
As the parallels started to pound my overactive imagination, I could recall the destination that made me feel at home, no matter how great the distance, no matter how much time lapsed. I could recall the glamorous cities that glitter, always energising those in their presence. I could recall the destinations that remain unpredictable, the ones that have left me with both intense frustration and puppy-dog comfort. And I could visualise the people in my life, who so snugly occupy each of these moulds.
For Singapore though, I was stumped, perhaps because this was a country I connected with for far more superficial reasons that usually fail to inspire me. Singapore was not a destination, where I felt a seamless bond with the locals, nor was it a country where any specific sites resonate on in my mind. I would willingly re-visit if circumstance took me back but I would lack the intense longing to return that occurred with Bali, New York, with Tanzania, Italy or Argentina.
Singapore, rather, was a destination that swept me up into its web of tantalizing, eclectic flavours from hawker stall cereal prawns to waterside crab feasts. It was a destination that amazed me with its technological advancements and a digital e-world that made my city, London, seem archaic. And mostly, it was a city whose illustrious skyline views at night would catch my fixed gaze and leave me wondering how a collection of twinkling skyscrapers could engage me with such force.
Singapore Skyline Views at Night
During my visit to Singapore, it was the views and the food that stood out the most, particularly at night when the contrast of the fuel-consuming neon strokes vividly illuminated the charcoal skies. Singapore, like Hong Kong and Seoul, was a place I much preferred through the night-time lens than the daytime one and it was at these spots that I found the night views to be most glorious.
The Light Show at Marina Bay Sands
As Singapore’s most renowned centrepiece hotel, characterised by 3 towering peaks, the Marina Bay Sands skyscrapers are topped with an impressive infinity pool 57 levels above ground, which is exclusively for use by hotel residents.
Luckily for the rest of us, the Marina Bay Sands Wonder Full Light and Water Show is open to all, free of charge and on every night of the week. Naturally, you and your loved one will be competing for a spot on the steps by the marina with several hundreds if not thousands of other light-gazers but this 15 minute burst of rainbow lights and lasers is a visual feast not to be missed.
Don’t even think about heading straight back to your hotel once it’s over though, as a few more steps on the pedometer around the marina will prove to you that in the heartlands of Singapore, most roads lead to sparkle.
Skyline Views from Rooftop Restaurants and Bars
As I mentioned earlier, what made Singapore memorable for me were the views and the food/drink scene so it was no surprise that we spent an evening combining the two with a drink at one of the rooftop bars at Marina Bay Sands, Ku De Ta, which has seen been reborn under the name of Ce La Vie.
Singapore has no shortage of bars and restaurants with a view but if you have the desire to bag a bar seat in time to watch the sunset, find one where you can book ahead or arrive early to avoid disappointment. We took our seats nearly an hour and a half before sunset to watch the skyline views of Singapore transition from daylight to dusk to a palate of twinkling studs in the dark.
Orchard Road Illuminations At Night
We were in Singapore a few weeks before Christmas and if the light displays on Orchard Road were anything to go by, energy conservation was most definitely not high on the agenda. It might not appeal to the environmentally cautious folk but it certainly made for an exhilarating, festive ambience, which is something I didn’t expect to experience in the muggy humidity of a November in Singapore.
Those of you with an insatiable Christmas curiosity can read more in my previous post on Singapore’s Christmas Lights.
Gardens by the Bay
The highly acclaimed Gardens by the Bay was one of the more innovative open spaces I have come across on my travels. As an award-winning urban garden that spans around 250 acres, it is certainly distinguishable from any other garden or park I have seen, although my personal view was that it was perhaps a tad over-hyped.
That said, when I got a glimpse of the bird’s eye view over Gardens by the Bay with its glistening, splaying tree branches, I regretted not visiting at night instead, when I think the sense of magic about the place would have been heightened (especially for a nocturnal owl like me!)
Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay
As two of the wharfs by the Singapore river, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay were lacking in any real sense of hustle and bustle by day with the exception of a few locals milling around, a few restaurants open for business and some run of the mill shopping malls in the vicinity.
By night though, against the backdrop of the kaleidoscopic hues emanating from the Alkaff Bridge these riverside quays took on a new persona with the palpable buzz of friends and families unwinding with drinks by the water, the volume on the walkways elevated and restaurant waiters were seem flitting between congested tables in al fresco set ups.
Have you been to any cities or countries, which you much preferred exploring by night?